There were a number of events planned for the evening to encourage and maintain the group’s enthusiasm. The library staff encouraged the attendants to dress as their favorite Twilight character as there was going to be a look-alike contest near the end of the evening, they planned a fan fiction reading, a trivia contest, showed a student-made Twilight film (put together by Logan Brown, and it was quite fun; they showed the final battle from Eclipse between the newborns/Cullens/werewovles, and as that wasn’t written in detail in the book they were able to involve a lot of people and plan it out as they wished without the constraints of remaining loyal to the book… I imagine this is a glimpse of what the creative team of the Twilight film felt when they decided to show the final fight in the ballet studio and realized they had a little more freedom as it was an unwritten scene!), and there was also a fan art display. The main room was decorated with black and red streamers, and artificial evergreens spotted the room, which I assumed was to replicate the feeling of the Olympic National Forest that surrounds the town of
The enthusiasm of the teens was tangible. Girls squealed over each other’s costumes and bickered good-naturedly about who made the best Bella (my personal favorite was the one in a hospital gown, accompanied by ‘Dr. Cullen’ who wore a sign proclaiming, “I’m here for the Danger Magnet”) and the guys (yes, there were a surprisingly large amount of guys there, and every single one of the ones I spoke to had read all of the books), who were mostly dressed as werewolves, growled, howled and tackled each other like the wolf pack that they were impersonating. Dancing was the main event, but every now and then there’d be a break from 'Soulja Boy' and something Twilight-y would occur.
I spoke with a number of the teens about their love for the books, and their thoughts about the film. The conversations were mostly screaming and squealing with enthusiasm about their love for the books, whether they were on team Edward or team Jacob (which also became an interesting conversation... as they felt that Edward had a huge advantage being 90 years more mature than the rebellious teenage werewolf... I don't think age had anything to do with Bella and Edward's love, but there you are...), but between those outbursts they had clear answers for what appeals to them about these books. Dennis White said that he thought one of the main draws was that it had a "supernatural charm but from a human perspective, so you could get caught up up in that good story." They shared what they were most excited to see on film, and what they feared would change. The general consensus was that the film makers would depict something differently than how they pictured it in their mind and it would take them out of the story. Sadly, this is inevitable as no film maker can make something look right to everyone as each person pictures things differently. This group of young, avid readers want to keep Twilight as the pure story that they hold in their imagination, and while they are certainly excited about seeing certain things on screen (the baseball game, the meadow, and the ballet-studio fight were the most popular), they don’t want it to taint their favorite work or distract from the pictures that they have imagined. They also expressed a fear that people who would just go and see the film, and who had never read the book- a fear that is also inevitable in some movie-goers as I’ve heard way too many times, “No, I haven’t read Harry Potter... but I've seen the movies,” and I don’t feel that is a generally well-accepted answer.
Yes, there will certainly be a number of people who go just to see the film, and I’m going to hope that they are entertained and think it a decent film. But to the true fans, the people who have read Twilight and hold a special place in their hearts for Bella and Edward, I hope that they realize that many things will have to change for this printed story to translate to the screen, but I hope that they are also aware of how much effort, love and care went into this adaptation; it’s more than I’ve seen for most of the other works that I have studied. They made changes when necessary to make it a better visual experience, but they never compromised the integrity of the story… at least that’s the feeling I get; I haven’t seen a whole script yet nor seen the whole film in action on the screen, so we’ll have to wait until December 12 to see; but from what I’ve read, heard from the creative team and witnessed myself on set, I don’t think this film will disappoint fans. Yes, there will be changes. No, every line that is loved in the books will not be in the film. Yes, the love story is still central and the driving force of all action. No, every character and every moment from the books will not be there.
I hope that it’s a film that is a great extension of my interest in Twilight; that I can see visually some of the things that I have imagined, and if it’s not exactly how I pictured it, I hope that I can respect that it is how Catherine Hardwicke, Wyck Godfrey or Greg Mooradian pictured it. I can let them share their vision with me and think that it’s neat, but that I'd be satisfied that I still have my own images in my head that is different from theirs. Neither of us is wrong for having these different visions, it’s just different. That’s how it works. I also hope it’s a film that inspires more people to go out and get the books, as that also inevitably happens. I forget the exact numbers, but The Lord of the Rings sold something like 35 million copies from 1960-2002, and sold something around 25 million copies from 2002-2005 due to the films. There will always be those people who don’t read the book and think the film was good, and those who read the book and think the film was a huge disappointment. Hopefully, however, the film can just be taken as the adaptation of this group of fans (as that’s truly what this cast, crew and creative team of Twilight are- fans) that is visually stunning, a successful film and as true to the novel as was possible and reasonable, and that it inspires a whole new group of people to go out there and read Twilight and discover some of the extra magic that comes from the reading and not just the seeing.
Huh… I didn’t mean to get up on my soapbox there, but these are the thoughts rolling through my head.
So the Duxbury event was great. It was a neat group of smart, thoughtful and passionate kids celebrating something that they love- books and the characters in them. Props to Ellen Snoeyenbos, the children’s librarian at Duxbury Free Library and the mastermind behind this event, and the Twilight reading group who helped to organize it. Ellen also made the most beautiful cloak I have ever seen (leant, kindly, to a girl dressed as Jane for the evening), so she gets a gold star for that!
Take a look at all of the pictures here.